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Growing up I have always made others laugh, and to be honest I thought I would become an actor one day. However upon putting Tomb Raider into my uncles PS1 I was destined to make games.
My youth was spent playing a lot of games and writing in notebooks with my best friend about the games we would make one day. I discovered D&D and began DMing, breaking, and improving the systems and design. I drew maps of my own levels, wrote my own characters, and theory crafted my own modes of play.
I ended up attending the University of Advancing Technology to get my B.A. in Game Design. During that time I was a volunteer quest designer for NERO live action role-playing games and accumulated over 9 years of experience building quests, designing combat systems, and executing moment to moment action for players at live weekend events. I was apart of the most popular and successful role-playing games in the Mid-west pulling players from all over America and I credit some of that to the design skilled I had developed. I became the creative director for C.A.S.T.L.E. inc heading new IP and improving current projects. I eventually realized I had not found my calling in LARP so I parted ways with C.A.S.T.L.E. and moved down to Florida to seek new opportunities.
In 2016 I was set on taking my career to the next level in digital games so I joined the University of Central Florida's Master program, "Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy." I also began development on Cosmonaut and co founded Neon Chasm.
I believe a great game can stand on its own with gameplay alone. Tetris would be a excellent example. However I feel that the evolution of the trade will come in the form of narrative and creating experiences over pure mechanics. This doesn't mean I emphasize narrative over gameplay, it is on the contrary. I emphasize narrative informing gameplay. We can create a simple concept, we can skin as much as we want, but to truly ingrain the narrative into the gameplay is a different beast.
Dark Souls has gameplay such as checkpoints, health potions, and recalls. Mechanics that have been known through almost all RPGs. However, the depth at which the narrative carries these simple mechanics creates a layer that players do not see at first. Instead they discover these connections and what was common is now fresh and unknown. They believe that in this world you reform at a bonfire (merely a spawn point) because that is how the inhabitants of this world, cursed to hollow, come back to life. The magic circle is reinforced and the player remains immersed. Flow is easier to maintain when difficulty and challenge are explained through narrative and design. Why else would people throw themselves endlessly at one of the most difficult games on the market?
I believe games that move towards this, will ultimately be at the top of the charts. This by no means is an indicator that Narrative is required to have a fun and interesting game. However, there is a difference between a toy version of a Porsche and a real Porsche. Both are different tastes, both are for different audiences.
If this intrigues, confuses, or baffles you then lets talk about it. Whether you agree or disagree I would love to hear what you think.
Games I believe to have this quality:
- Dark Souls
- Nier Automata
- Metal Gear Solid
- The Last of Us
- Silent Hill 2